A wind turbine stands next to solar panels at a Banpu Power Pcl solar plant in Awaji, Hyogo, Japan. Photographer: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg

No Safeguard Duty On Imported Solar Cells, For Now

A safeguard duty won’t be imposed on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia for the time being, complying with a recent order of the Odisha High Court, according to a Finance Ministry notification still not public.

The “duty on solar cells would… be assessed provisionally on furnishing of a simple letter of undertaking by the person concerned”, the ministry said in the notification shared with BloombergQuint by solar industry representatives. They didn’t want to be identified since the matter is sub judice.

The court’s July 23 interim stay came on a petition filed by Acme Solar Holdings Ltd., which urged the central government to not issue any notification to impose the duty. The Department of Revenue had, however, imposed the duty on July 30.

Emailed queries to the Finance Ministry remained unanswered.

Acme Solar has filed an interlocutory application in the Odisha High Court seeking urgent relief after July 30 notification to impose the duty, ignoring the Odisha High Court’s order, one of the industry representatives cited said. Hearing on the matter is due tomorrow.

The domestic solar industry fears the duty will increase capital costs of solar power projects and lead to increase tariffs—which were at record lows in the latest federal auction of power projects.

The Indian government imposed the safeguard duty for two years effective July 30 after the Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association filed an application in 2017, saying that a surge in solar cell imports had led to huge losses to the local industry.